Objectives: To examine planning age of athletic retirement of elite athletes in the United Kingdom, athletes' short-term plans in terms of a balance between sports and other activities, and athletes' long-term plans in regard to their activities after sports career termination.
Design and methods: Participants were 561 elite-level athletes (mean age=26.0 years) who completed a self-administered postal survey. A total of 37 individual and team sports were represented.
Results: One-way analysis of variance indicated that the age at which participants planned on retiring from sport varied significantly across sports, among male and female athletes, and among able and disabled athletes. A series of chi-square analyses revealed significant differences in the short-term plans of athletes in terms of increasing training, plans to start education and plans to find a job over the next 12 months.
Conclusions: There appears to be an unwillingness among younger athletes and those who perceive themselves to have a significant amount of time before they retire to develop concrete plans about their future career prior to their retirement. It is recommended that further research be conducted in order to assess the career development needs of elite athletes across Europe.